I can remember the days when shooters were just another genre of games, they held no more sway over gamers than the latest puzzle platformer or stealth based fare. Since the dawn of Xbox Live that trend has slowly been changing, in today’s market it seems most of the games available to players are First Person Shooters. It used to be that this fact exhilarated rather than depressed me but as of late I’ve ended up going back to older games that offer a more significant single player experience than “go here and kill these bad guys”. Halo Reach launched in September of this year and the game I had been eagerly anticipating for months was finally in my grasp, then Call of Duty: Black Ops dropped and I was forced to put my Halo to the side so I could get in on some of that tense military shooter action. It has only been a few months and I have already wandered away from Black Ops and I spend more time in Forge and Theater mode than the other functions of Reach.
This isn’t to berate these games or claim they are less than spectacular, because both titles are equally amazing and I’ve enjoyed both. I found myself listing slightly, feeling unmotivated to play games that I swore were going to make my new wife a new gamer widow. As I considered these strange changes in myself it dawned on me what the problem was. Too many First Person Shooters are the problem. Due to the insane success of games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Halo it seems you can’t toss a pebble these days without hitting another shooter, even games that seem like they should be a single player experience are tacking on multiplayer aspects to try and pull people away from the heavy hitters. The problem that I’m coming to find is that as I get slowly but surely older, I am drawn to games where the single player experience is more engaging and in depth than one sees in most shooters. Don’t get me wrong, the single player campaign of Halo Reach is the best Halo story told in video game form to date, but I found myself wanting to explore that world more and spend more time with the characters rather than finish up the story quickly to jump into the multiplayer arena.
The biggest problem that I have with the game industry right now is that they gave me my wish, I childishly demanded more shooters and sequels given to me sooner than every two years or longer. I’ve come to the conclusion that the original rate at which FPS titles used to trickle out while offering other types of game was more to my liking. It used to be that I could buy one of the big name titles and know I would get my money’s worth out of it through the mulitplayer, but now I find that I’m less interested in spending my time there than exploring the world in a single player environment. Games like Mass Effect 2, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Assasin’s Creed Brotherhood are quickly rising to the top of my list as games that I would rather be playing. I’m sure the pendulum will swing back around eventually and I’ll be greedily slurping up every shooter I can get my hands on, Brink and Homefront spring to mind, but for now I’m going back into the beefier single player experiences I can find.
- Looking Back at 2010: The Year in Shooters (g4tv.com)
- Halo: Reach Players Depopulate the Earth Five Times Over (escapistmagazine.com)
- Are First Person Shooters losing their appeal? Study says ‘yes’ (gonintendo.com)